The Riverview School District P.A.I.V.E. program is designed for adult students ages 18-21 who wish to enhance their learning in the areas of Education, Employment, and Independent Living. Students, their families, and the school team work in collaboration to determine post-secondary goals for students in each of the three aforementioned categories. Because every student has different needs and goals, the curriculum and content of P.A.I.V.E. is designed to meet the needs of individualized students. However, all P.A.I.V.E. students are enrolled in the following classes:
Personal Finance - Budget planning, purchasing, balancing, taxes, tips, fiscal decision-making
Personal and Career Readiness – Leisure, stress relief, coping skills, exercise, stamina
Family and Interpersonal Relationships – Life stages, life planning, relationships
Workplace Experiences – Unpaid internships, communication, soft and hard vocational skills
Life Skills – Personal care, meal prep, shopping, cleaning, goal setting, transportation
Personal Development – Self-esteem, communication, conflict resolution, problem solving, resiliency
P.A.I.V.E. students participate in learning activities in the classroom, as well as out in the community where they are allowed to acquire and practice their skills in community-based internships. For community-based experience, the Riverview School District partners with local businesses and organizations that provide students with the opportunities necessary to enhance their vocational education and experience.
“Being at P.A.I.V.E. has helped people with disabilities like me do so much more than we could ever do in school,” shared Caitlyn Fields. “P.A.I.V.E. has helped prepare me for the world ahead by teaching us the benefits of being adults. It is an honor and a privilege to share the best years of my life there.”
One of the major components of the program is the requirement for students to create and maintain a personal monthly budget. Students are expected to shop for their own groceries each week, in order to prepare breakfast and lunch while at school. Other life skills tasks embedded in the program include public transit training, shopping, getting a haircut, going to personal appointments, and planning for and engaging in recreational activities.
Pete Schneider, a P.A.I.V.E. parent, has seen a direct impact life skills lessons have made with his own son. “I have been amazed at the level of independent functioning my son achieved at P.A.I.V.E.”
The success of P.A.I.V.E. is realized in the close working relationships between the student, student’s family, school staff, outside agency providers and community members. Students often elect to participate in the School-to-Work program, designed to offer on-the-job coaching for students as they exit the public school system. As a result of student dedication and collaborative partnerships, the employment rate of students leaving the program at age 21 has been 100% over the past six years. Every student that has exited P.A.I.V.E. in the past six years has either left with an independent paid job or has left as a participant of the School-to-Work program with affiliated paid work opportunities.
“I have been in P.A.I.V.E. for the last two years and love that it gives me the opportunity to go out in the community and practice my job skills,” said Alexis Kirschenmann. “I also like that we get to plan our weekly activities and outings as a group. I’m looking forward to another year at P.A.I.V.E. and the opportunity to intern in our community.”
The P.A.I.V.E. program in the Riverview School District is helping students not only build their own bridges, but to also cross those bridges as they endeavor on their future paths as participatory community members.
Photos shared courtesy of Jolene Barrett and the P.A.I.V.E. Program